- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley asked Iowa television stations Friday to stop airing a new ad that accuses him of paying women on his staff less than men, his campaign manager said Friday.

Sarah Benzing called the ad false, saying the four-term congressman pays women equally and has backed paycheck fairness legislation. The campaign has sent a legal letter to TV stations around the state, asking that they immediately stop running the spot. Braley is locked in one of the tightest election races in the nation against Republican state Senator Joni Ernst.

“These distortions have no place on the Iowa airwaves,” Benzing said of the ad.

It was produced by a new political action committee based in Des Moines, called the Priorities for Iowa Political Fund. It is run by Sara Craig, a consultant for Redwave Communications, which is owned by Ernst supporter David Kochel. Federal documents show that the Super PAC spent over a million dollars to air the ad. Craig provided a document showing how the committee made the calculations.

In an emailed statement, Craig said the ad should stay on the air, saying that Braley’s “policies will leave more Iowa women struggling to make ends meet.”

The ad reports that Braley pays women on his staff 59 cents for every dollar he paid men, citing recent federal data. But in the letter to the stations, Braley’s attorneys said that when you look at the complete numbers from his time in Congress, he has paid women an average of $1.02 for every dollar going to men.

Brian Sather, general manager of KCCI-TV in Des Moines, declined to comment on the request. Jim McKernan, general manager at KWWL-TV in Waterloo, said he had not yet seen it. Dale Woods, general manager of WHO-TV in Des Moines, said the station was reviewing the request. Messages left with several other stations were not immediately returned.

This move comes as Braley is making a push for support from women in the final days of the race. Polling shows that female voters prefer Braley over Ernst. Braley has been questioning Ernst’s position on abortion and has also attacked her on issues such as the minimum wage, another issue the campaign thinks resonates with female voters.

Ernst spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel declined to comment on the ad.

Ernst has sought to have ads pulled in the past, without success. In August, she asked stations to halt airing an ad from an environmentally-focused super PAC, which she said misrepresented her position on maintaining a federal mandate for the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that must be blended into gasoline. Ernst has said she philosophically opposes subsidies, but would support the Renewable Fuel

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